A bit of a departure for Francis...its like a story in two parts - 14 years separate part one from part two...The Derry brothers...the elder deals with a sure-fire horse race betting system and a mobster-like family mad to get it, by fair means or foul. The bad guys vengeance and acrimony isn't thwarted when they find, in part two, that that they've got the wrong brother.
Interesting side notes...The book, written in 82, has interesting language regarding early computers and programs used to run the programmed betting system. Nothing an American reader will be familiar with, no Apple Commodore 64 here - but a Grantley Basic...the ability to use regular cassette tapes to record computer data before the "newfangled" floppy disks, calling computers "TOMs" - Totally Obedient Morons...things like that. I found that sort of look back into old computer language programming - the sort of thing we learned in America as basic DOS language "If this, then that, go to", etc...very very interesting.
Other than that, a good book, but a bit of a Deus Ex Machina ending...where it could have ended a lot sooner if the Heroes just didn't play so depressingly FAIR when its clear the bad guys play to win.
Physics teacher Jonathan Derry inherits trouble when his friend Peter gives him three innocuous-looking musical tapes that contain the computer language version of the betting system of a professional gambler named Liam O'Rourke. Unfortunately, Angelo and Harry Gilbert also know about O'Rourke's system and nothing will stop them from getting it. As usual, Francis will keep listeners enthralled as the menace and destruction associated with this system change the lives of everyone who touches it; from quick-witted physicist Jonathan to his younger, horse-loving brother William, everyone pays a heavy price. Tony Britton's performance is perfect. A guaranteed winner; highly recommended for all public libraries.
LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW
A double dash of Dick Francis! Like all of his books, this one is unique and a fascinating read! The first half revolves around a high school physics teacher, also an Olympic sharpshooter, who receives a computerized racehorse handicapping system from a friend who dies in a horrible accident. The physicist saves his wife and friends from a maniac who will kill for this program. He even gets them sent to prison.
Fast forward a few years. The physicist has moved to America and his younger brother is mistaken for him when the thugs get out of prison. The younger brother tracks down the handicapping program as more rounds of threats and mayhem lead to a different and final resolution. Exciting!
This is another oldie but goodie of Francis' from the earlier 80's. The plot centered around a computer program written in BASIC to assist gamblers with betting on horse races. It's well written and engaging thru the end. I recommend this book to all Francis fans.
Young physicist Jonathan Derry is given some musical tapes by a friend. But the tapes are really an elaborate computerized horse betting system that can make the owner a rich man or a dead one. Once again high speed thriller master Dick Francis weaves a constantly twisting plot a wicked villain non stop action and an explosive showdown in a superb book that races to the finish line leaving you breathless for more